Thomas Goddard Workshop

Thomas Goddard is an artist who has worked for several companies, but works more on a freelance basis, on several projects at once. He came into Mostyn gallery to talk to us about the projects that he has worked on since 2010, hoping it would inspire our own personal projects. His work examines the line between truth and fiction and looks at the relationship between the individual and society. Here are the three, big projects he spoke to us about.

He started off by talking about Cerbyd, which was an artist led project that involved 12 artist collaborating with 9 clubs and societies across Wales, during the month of August in 2010. These clubs included Caernarfon Model Railway Club, George Formby Society and Institute of Physics in Wales, just to name a few. It was very interesting to hear how they had a list of over 2,000 clubs and societies within Wales that they contacted, and how some of them like ghost hunters and UFO seekers, were not interested. Below a map can be seen where the clubs and societies are located.

Cerbyd MapThe next project he talked abut was The Beast of Bala. Now Thomas did not create the legend, it has been around since at least the 1880s, but it is not as famous as Loch Ness, and has had a lot less hoaxes. Thomas was interested in collecting all the information he could about the monster and display it on a website. Thomas even moved to Bala and lived just next to the lake, so it was easier for him to do his own research. While he never confirms if the monster is real or not, he simply collects pieces of information about the monster, and sometimes creates leaflets and includes the most on his postcards of North Wales.

Beast of Bala Leaflet

The third project he spoke to us about is called ‘The Life, Death and Afterlife of Lizzie the Elephant’. This is the story of an Elephant that used to be paraded around the streets and fields of South Wales, in a cage, in what were the early days of zoos, around the 1900s. Unfortunately, the elephant died quite young of the cholera and was taxidermy by a butcher, taxidermist (who only worked on birds) and a carpenter. As a result, Lizzie was very poorly taxidermied, so when a new curator came in, in the late 50s, early 60s they removed Lizzie. This was mainly because they found that she had arsenic on her skin, and the school children would use the main hall in the museum as an exam hall, because their hall could not fit all the children in it. It was seen as a good luck to stroke Lizzie before the exam, not good when the children had their lunches as they now had arsenic on their fingers. Thomas arranged an expedition and several workshops about the elephant, within the workshops children of various ages made elephant masks. Then on the 10th of May, 2014 they marched through Swansea city, starting at the train station and finishing at Swansea Museum. Once they reached here the masks were burnt, (without the children watching), as this was the fate of Lizzie.

Lizzie the Elephant

After this we had lunch, and once we had lunch we all talked about our own personal projects. Below can be seen a brief summary of everyone own personal projects.

  • Lottie-wants to be remembered to make a change to the world, using either art or science, as she is good at both.
  • Rita-wants to go back to her village and rebuild the village, village hall, play area for the children
  • Lewis-is very keen on graphic design, he is currently doing a work placement with Gaia and hopes to get an apprenticeship out of it.
  • Luke-just gradated from edge hill with a degree in film making. However, he is struggling to find work as its over saturated market and he does some free lance work often for free. He is currently looking for a job within the TV industry.
  • Luned-is very interested in sub culture and groups around Britain and she is particularly interested in music sub culture. She would like to document and follow a group round for a period of time.
  • Conner-is a budding graphics designer and photographer, he is currently working on his A Level which he hopes to achieve full marks in, like he did in Year 12.

It was very insightful and interesting to hear from Thomas Goddard and we look forward to keeping in touch with him in the future.


Written by Conner Davies.

Tom Goddard Himself